Sunday, June 24, 2007

Now James...

Be careful: Big Brother is watching you
This evening's blog consists of my response to a response to something I wrote. James, an arts manager from Chicago writes the The Buckwheat Waffle Love Hour, which occasionally has some interesting Belarusian content. James also has a strong connection to White Russia in that he is married to Belarusian lady and has spent 8 months in the country visiting with her family. This post specifically replies to James' Back to Being Had

James, about the opposition, I refer you to this "Story": Milinkevich to Pinsk: Kak Ve nye stidna?

This was written directly after attending Milinkevich's speech in Pinsk. Up till this time, my Tanya was convinced that Milinkevich was the man in Belarus. She had this thought after meeting with the opposition guys campaigning on the street to the markets and from literature (several copies of Naradnaya Volya) presented to her at her work. We even had one of the opposition guys come to the house to show us a video of the police talking to their people to prove what a police state it was. After watching Milinkevich speak live, she changed her mind thinking that the man was full of hot air.

Now my friend, listen to what I am telling you here. People voted for who they thought was the best man for the job in Belarus. This is a fact. They voted for the man who they thought was the strongest personality and who best represented their interests. Everyone here thought that Milinkevich was a Euro backed carpet bagger, and people here were not and are not interested in being ruled by Europe. Kazulin was seen, and please forgive me for saying this, as a crazy man. Everyone thought he looked a little odd in his television spot and that he was at least grandstanding by instigating the fight at the "people's conference" when he go arrested. Making one's self a martyr for European money is not how to gain support for your own personal leadership.

This is not only how I saw things from the inside, this is how 83% of the people in Belarus saw it as well.

Now, understanding that Belarus would not receive favorable treatment from Europe because of this vote was not only understood by everyone, IT WAS ALSO ONE OF THE REASONS FOR VOTOING FOR LUKASHENKA. I don't know if you can understand this, but the real THREAT during the last elections was not made by the Belarusian hockey player, Kalhoze manager, last-dictator-of-Europe but by the European money people. They were the one's saying that there would be pain if they were not followed. All Lukashenka said was that he understood the souls of the people of Belarus, that he understood what they really wanted from their lives and that if elected, he would continue to do what he had been doing all along and challenged anyone to show him where he had been corrupt or had not been doing his job.

Since the elections, and this is my opinion from reading basically everything written about Belarus in the conventional media (i.e., all of the sources listed on the BHTimes) it seems as if there has at least been an acceptance of the fact of Lukashenka's popularity within the country and, with the notable exception of the Reuter's interview, Lukashenka seems to have made a reasonable impression on at least a dozen countries insofar as trade and economic opportunities are concerned. These countries include India, China, the Arab states, Korea, Basically all of the CIS, Vietnam and of course, Venezuela. Belarus has also continued to try and create a Union State with Russia. Yes, I understand what you might probably say about these countries, but the fact remains that despite Euro trash talk, Belarus has not been as isolated as you might think. They also by the way make substantial trade in several fields with European countries and the US as well.

What all this means is that despite all of the trumped up media propaganda from the time of the elections, and the major hit from the Russian Gas and oil deals, life has gone on. Milinkevich is now gone, rejected by his own people and the Belarusian opposition in general has been widely criticized as being both inept and even corrupt. They are also seen as being rather a downer because of constantly harping on the negative side of things, rather than admitting that Belarus is a place where people live, work and get along as they can.

I happen to be one of them.

Is it hard in Belarus? Yes it is. Do peoople want a better life here? Yes they do. But what it is really about is that getting there is seen as a task best accomplished by Belarusians, for Belarusians and that the best interests of Belarusians are served. Aparently, becoming economic wage slaves to European interests does not rate highly in the local ideology despite propaganda and rhetoric to the contrary.

More soon...

12 Comments:

Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Woa! Hold on a minute. How the hell do you get from, and I will quote what I wrote exactly:

"James, an arts manager from Chicago writes The Buckwheat Waffle Love Hour, which occasionally has some interesting Belarusian content. James also has a strong connection to White Russia in that he is married to Belarusian lady and has spent 8 months in the country visiting with her family."

To "a former marriage-minded sex tourist."? You have to explain to me when exactly I accused you of anything even similar to what you have said. In fact, all in all I would think I have been showing you a remarkable amount of respect.

James, all your points are great and wonderful and from your perspective are as normal as normal can be.

Most of all though, I think I should explain here that what I liked about that original piece you wrote was that you showed a lot of real emotion. This is what motivated me to write to you and invite you offer your opinions. There are not a lot of people writing about Belarus these days and the reasons for this are easy to define. Belarus' position in terms of political interest has been diminished by the rise of Russia and how uninteresting the opposition is. People have generally accepted that Belarus is what Belarus is and are more interested in potential nuclear confrontations from Moscow. Because of the general lack of interest, a lot of the people who were in the Belarus fight have walked away.

I didn't know you were working with the Belarusian theatre because I don't believe you ever said that you did. I do remember you asked to see "Pod Kablukom" but I thought you mentioned only that you were an art director somewhere.

But if you are feeling antagonized by me or by other commenters it is because the time for hacking on Belarus seems to have passed. There is agreement that the world has bigger fish to fry and in general there has been acceptance already that yes, Lukashenka is the president and if you want to talk to Belarus about business, you have t go through him because the opposition carries no weight in house. And I am sorry but this is what the people wanted. I am speaking of people who live here.

My friend, fifteen years of poverty is a very real thing. But that fifteen years was also about retaining a particular idealism. This idealism was a different way of looking at things than you have. If you want to argue the relative merits, this is your prerogative. But in the end, and in my heart, and from my perspective of living in downtown Pinsk on Belarusian type money for four years (five if we forget Poland), I say that Belarus voted for the man with their eyes open. And because of this I think, and frankly the whole world seems to think, that learning to get along with Belarus and finding ways to get things done is better for everyone than continually stomping and pissing and demanding that people continue to suffer.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Anonymous Steve R said...

This post is very well said.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

James

It's amazing to me that someone like you would even start a blog of your own since you seem to think that anyone who does not agree with you does not have a worthwhile opinion, as evidenced by this remark on the other thread;

I don't know Jenna's story, but while everyone has a right to express an opinion, it's the knowledgeability behind that opinion that makes it worthwhile.

Not to mention your very odd paranoia which is evidenced by your remark to Adam;
First off, my eight months in Belarus were spent on a business visa working for a national theatre of Belarus, which I made the very first professional theatre company to perform in their native tongue on American soil (at a significant expense to myself which I'm still paying off, I might add). I don't mean to go off-topic, but I feel I deserve better than to be presented off the bat as a former marriage-minded sex tourist.


and...

In the process of working for the theatre, I received plenty of eye-rolls and saw plenty of Belarusians and Americans (both inside and outside the country) share "knowing" glances, effectively relegating me to a starry-eyed chubby Westerner really just looking for a easy piece of Belarusian tail.

My-my-my, James, you do seem to have a problem with people's perception of who you are. Have you ever seeked help for this? Living in Chicago, I'm sure there are plenty of head doctors who can help you with that. They also might be of service in teaching you how to communicate with the rest of the human race that you feel are so unworthy of your words of wisdom.

I suggest you keep your liquor cabinet stocked up, I'm sure it will dull the pain of any visitor that a may come your way and listen to your blather.

Have a nice day in Chicago...the weather is beautiful today. Try not to feel that everyone is judging you on the street...seek help, James.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

James

No bait, just a suggestion. I know, it's not as pointed as jenna's suggestion to you, but I did my best.

;-)

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Where do you get your information from and what makes you think it is any more clear and free from politics as what Belarusians get. There are a hell of a lot of cable dishes on the sides of our houses these days and a hell of a lot of computers. If I can get all the crap that I do from the west, so can anybody else. If I can read Charter 97, Naveny, Belapan, maladoi front, Milinkevich.com, Zubr, TOL, Viasna, or the UCPB in Russian and/or Belarusian, so can everyone else. And this is failing to mention the Moscow and Petersburg Times, Itar Tass, Ria Novosti, Kommersant, Pravda.ru, etc. If this stuff is available to me then everybody here gets to hear all about it too. I also might point out that people here are not suchj lemmings as you might think which means that even straight television news from Belatella or ONT can be spoken of.

I just got through telling you that they had their say. We all knew their names. We all heard their speeches. Comprende? W-e h-e-a-r-d w-h-a-t t-h-e-y h-a-d t-o-s-a-y.

And for that matter, what in the living hell makes you think that the USA or the EU even has any right to speak about Belarusian internal politics. How many nations spoke out against the Iraqi war? Did it make a difference? No?

Are you telling me that Europe was angered that their politicians didn't win or that their interests were not searved? Boo-freaking-hoo.

I don't need to follow you point by point. I don't need to do a damned thing I don't want to do. This is my media space and you sir are a guest in it. And this James is exactly the point. Belarus belongs to Belarus. Not the Europeans and their phony-baloney, no constitution, inflation inducing Euro dollars, Not the Americans and their "Let's keep martial law going as long as possible" foreign policy- The Belarusians own Belarus and this is exactly the way it is supposed to be. And, the Belarusians voted for Lukashenka. Why? Because THEY liked him and because you didn't. See how that works?

You might want to follow a different news source for your "I feel Belarus in my soul" fix? Try BELTA. You know what they say over there? They say "Who the hell are you to try dictating policy to a sovereign, independent state?

Try dealing with that thought because frankly, this is what it being had is all about too.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Anonymous Jenna said...

I say spam him.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

james

well, isn't that special? The point that I think Adam is making is...it doesn't matter what anyone says, the fact of the matter is there was an election held and the majority of Belarusans (sp?) made a choice and it doesn't matter a fig how many Democrats did or didn't vote on a bill nor does it matter what you think. I know it's hard for someone like you to face the fact that your voice has little meaning in Belarus, even if you did spend 8 months there, chasing womens tails.

And just for the record....get that eyeball of yours checked out, I think I see a cataract!

Monday, June 25, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

For anybody reading this comments section, you need to know that James deleted all of his comments in a fit of rage. In a private letter to me he explained that he thought some of the other comments were too… I don’t know, some adjective. He also deleted several posts on his blog that were basically commentary towards this blog. James has stated that he has trepidation towards blogging.. This is understood.

Though I don't necessarily agree with his position, I don't know why he decided to remove having stated it from this blog or the web in general. If anything, the BEING HAD Blog has always been open to different opinions and not just my own. I am not pulling this post though I do find this whole situation to be rather disturbing really.

Friday, June 29, 2007  

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